by Sara Hill
Ugliness is attractive to Amy Roberts-Brubaker. The Hudson resident, who by day works in the rigid world of medical biotechnology, unleashes her creativity every evening at The BruPoppy Farm, where she gives new life to vintage furniture.
“It has to be ugly,” the artist says of the pieces she picks to refurbish. “The uglier it is, the more it speaks to me. You have to trust the process. Things always look ugly before they look pretty.”
It’s a metaphor for life that’s served Roberts-Brubaker well. Following a divorce in 2014, she found herself drawn to painting, using it as a way to release extreme emotional stress. Five years later and in a new marriage, Roberts-Brubaker and her husband blended their families and purchased a cozy home with ample land in Hudson.
Entirely self-taught, Roberts-Brubaker worked to restore their new home into a farmhouse and delved even deeper into her painting passion projects, restoring vintage furniture and giving shabby pieces a glamorous second life. As word of mouth spread about Roberts-Brubaker’s one-of-a-kind custom furniture pieces, her late-night art projects turned into a side business with a retail site at brupoppy.com. She refurbishes vintage cabinets, chests of drawers, buffets, clawfoot tubs, hutches, chairs, dressers, mirrors, storage boxes, tables and home décor, finding most of her items at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore shop in Cleveland. Her only rules are that it has to be very old, very ugly and in desperate need of a transformative new lease on life.
Her art, true for any creative individual, is cathartic and healing, so much so that Roberts-Brubaker aims to one day open a space at The BruPoppy Farm for children affected by trauma to paint, create their own pieces and find healing strength along the way.
“Every piece I make means something to me in a weird way. It’s almost a spiritual thing. I’ll walk by it and it resonates with me,” she said. “There’s real healing in creating something new from something very ugly. I don’t have any formal training, no schooling, no knowledge, it’s a learning process as I go along. I have no fear.” ∞
Featured Photo: Amy Roberts-Brubaker (l), pictured with daughter Alexandra Roberts, restores vintage finds at her Brandywine Road farmhouse. Photos submitted.